Centro Histórico

Added on by Steven Casale.

Down the rain shaft also
thought of as a street
(though nothing is a street when it rains),

a sky with few stars remains lit
by a cool maroon:

a stretch in the correct manner.

Have you ever wondered
how it is to cry upon arrival?

Have you truly seen places with form?

I have no reason to go anywhere.
Only perhaps, for dry air's sake.

It's something they call discovery
or a hiding.

Talk too much, but not here.
Instead I stand near people,
watch them covered
like animals in rain

under an unfolding black. 

She Goes Outside

Added on by Steven Casale.

Today I feel a long poetry
goes deep
had told myself there would be
no more poems about poems

but I can see you all
pink-lit under a grayest sky
got so many feet there
don't you?

I know your breath is milk
and it strikes a new fire
says words women must say now
no men can cry like you

got some books in your ears
color all over you are
so much of it I barely need
to hear you sing I can

just grow it like that
leaves of our winter unfurled
got enough rain for that, don't we?
Tell me now tell me tell me

that story
about how we keep walking from here.

The Mistake

Added on by Steven Casale.

          A white pigeon
flew into the window, covered and heavy
in rain diamonds. The sound: a hollow smack.

We looked outside and there she was,
breast puffed, body huddled
next to a wooden planter.

She waited there for three hours before
                    away again.

Axis Points

Added on by Steven Casale.

At 1:30 a.m., I wanted to know the time
in other places.

In Tehran it was 10:30 a.m.
Three hours, plus thirty minutes, ahead
of Coordinated Universal Time.

In Svalbard, polar night.
The sun's rim hidden beneath
the earth like a worm.

In New Zealand, December
with fifteen hours of daylight,
long bright.

And in Accra, day and night
are even. Gold and onyx good,
one thing equal for the next

while the rest of world shifts.

Approaching Cabuya

Added on by Steven Casale.

On a dirt road we passed cows
with curtained skin, their backs jagged hills,
each with a topography its own.

The sky was white with clouds
The jungle finished its raining by noon
and the wheels of our ATV went ever forward.

Then, a tree that was a thousand trees.
From the earth countless tendons twisted
up, tangled brown, frozen ropes stood

tall and covered in a glaze of honey
that stunk of bitter resin, insect wing.

It hummed hot, buzzed the bat's call,
it was their home—
huge and unapologetic.

What Gets Hidden in the Night

Added on by Steven Casale.

How gentle my mother must feel as
she looks at the strings of my clothing and
the hair on my fingers. She must think,
I made this.

And how everything has changed since those
summer nights when I dreamed of buffalo
chasing me, and my father hid bubblegum
in the bathroom closet and said,
Don't eat these at night, or you'll choke.

But all along I've only wanted
to swallow what is sweet, to
watch my tongue change

Pebble blue,
red tulip.

Now I am a man.
Whatever that is.
And I still feel like brown sugar
in my coffee is not enough
to erase the fear.

And I think that every howl that
we murmur in our sleep, our mothers
must feel, like the tight fastening
of a belt, or the uncomfortable sound
of a chair as it dances on the floor.

To the Bonsai in the Pot

Added on by Steven Casale.

Fifteen years ago you were a gift.
I was living between between blue walls
watching the tulip tree outside the window
open its orange hands.

You are good like that tree, even if
you don’t have bright flowers and
you’re not nearly as tall.

I forget to water you, but you forgive me.

And when the cat came and
gnawed at your arms, I was worried
about you, my voiceless one.

I thought you would die, like the person
who brought you.
But you curled your waxed tongues.
You dug into the dirt below.
You sucked sunlight from all around your body.

Up on your refrigerator throne, you prove
that living isn’t much more than patience,
standing up, bending down.